Lawmakers Show Support for Surgeon General Warning Label on Social Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just like alcohol, cigarettes and other nicotine products, social media could soon have warning labels, too. 

In a New York Times op-ed this week, U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms. Murthy believes social media is a contributing factor in the mental health crisis among children and teenagers. 

The Surgeon General said the warning label should state that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents.  

The warning label could serve as a regular reminder to parents and adolescents of the risks that often come with social media use. Some advocates argue social media company’s business models depend on getting kids addicted. Some lawmakers, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY), are on board with the warning labels.  

“I think that the Surgeon General’s approach is a good step. We’re very worried about our children. Congress has done very little to protect our youth,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “I fully support it and I think it would get bipartisan support.”

In the op-ed, Dr. Murthy pointed to a 2019 American Medical Association study which showed teens who spend three hours a day on social media double their risk of depression. 

A Surgeon General’s warning label requires congressional approval.